ROME, N.Y. One hard-rock band is called Lit. The other has a signature hit called "Lit Up."
Both were fronted by guys covered in tattoos; both played during the still-sweltering late afternoon. Both also suffered from the Woodstock "hit parade" syndrome, in which thousands of sunburned fans turned tail and walked the other way once they'd heard the band's radio hit.
Orange County, Calif.'s Lit were up first, with bassist Kevin Baldes and guitarist Jeremy Popoff taking the stage in loud red and blue "pimp" suits, respectively, which they quickly shed due to the heat. Singer A. Jay Popoff was dressed more appropriately in a cool, white, cotton button-down as he sang some of the band's pop-punk hits, including "Miserable" and Lit's signature radio tune, "My Own Worst Enemy" (RealAudio excerpt).
"It's our big f---ing day!" Popoff shouted, although it was unclear if he meant his band or his peers in the youthful audience.
While fans waited for Buckcherry to take the stage, a pair of glammed-up rockers posed for the cameras on the back of a flatbed truck near the west stage. As it turned out, the vampy pair weren't even playing the show, just taking advantage of the unique setting to pose for an Italian fashion shoot.
"We can't get access to the bands, so we had to bring our own rock stars," said Gillian Conroy, an editor for Iodonna magazine, an Italian fashion weekly. Behind her, Brazilian model Daniella Roteli posed with a red Stratocaster guitar slung around her lithe torso, her legs sheathed in green leather pants with silver flames around the ankles; a form-fitting brown top and black eye makeup gave her that rocked-out look.
Buckcherry singer Joshua Todd didn't need a fashion assistant to strike just the right rock-star pose. Bounding onstage in a fur vest, tight black pants, and a bandanna around his forehead, Todd led his Los Angeles band through a bruising set of Rolling Stones/ Guns n' Rosesstyle blues-rock. The singer oozed charisma and edgy style, from the "Chaos" tattoo above his belly button to the massive playing-card king and the word "Desire" tattooed on his back.
"Let's see some pu---!" Todd shouted, as a number of female fans partially obliged by joining the parade of topless women on the shoulders of their male friends. The band blasted through the blues-metal song "Dirty Mind," "Check Your Head" and the near-punk "Dead Again" before forcing thousands of hands in the air for the "I love the cocaine" chorus of their hit "Lit Up" (RealAudio excerpt).
"Cocaine, cocaine, cocaine," Todd chanted, exhorting the crowd to shout in a call-and-response moment that might have given the west-stage MC, professional hippie and three-time Woodstock fixture Wavy Gravy flashbacks to Country Joe McDonald's "f---" cheer from the first festival.
That is, until Todd underscored this fest's distance from antiquated notions of hippie peace and love when he rapped midsong, "She really loves it when I eat her ass/ Cuz I have an ounce of cocaine."